the 2007 debut of "Shear Genius," Bravo -
TV's reality competition for hairdressers, one of the
genuine surprises was Ben Mollin. The tattooed, music-loving
stylist was eccentric and humble. But he also exhibited
an eagerness to learn and a passion for his craft, so
much that Sally Hershberger and Vidal Sassoon commended
him for his raw talent and his growth over the course
of the competition. And grow he did, right into the
number two spot - taking second place and outdistancing
the thousands of other stylists who auditioned.
Mollin, "Shear Genius" was a turning point
in a career that began in 1993 and included owning and
operating several different salons in the Chicagoland
area. At the same time Mollin pursued his passion for
music while playing in several bands, and even combined
hair, records and vintage clothing in some of his businesses.
By 2005, however, he was at a professional crossroad.
"At that point," he remembers, "I was
working out of my living room and I was packing to go
to Las Vegas to audition for "Blue Man Group."
But his future in cobalt body paint was halted when
Bravo called and invited him to be on "Shear Genius."
Mollin is back in his new home state of Indiana, running
a boutique salon called "Bang Bang Beauty and Boutique"
and producing for Rule 42 Productions. Thanks to his
hard work after the show, he is recognized all over
the world. He hosts and judges The Supreme Salon Tour
"Hairwars." He's in demand for personal appearances,
video projects and more. Mollin was featured in "50
Hairstylists," a book featuring the fifty most
influential hairdressers in the country. But one of
the best things to come out of the "Shear Genius"
experience, he says, has been the opportunity to connect
to beauty school students and young stylists. He believes
that he is the type of person to whom people can relate,
and he can offer education, support and encouragement.
"I've been up and I've been down," he says.
"When people meet me, they can relate to me."